Once in a while, things are easy, or at least relatively so. This painting fell together in just about two weeks. I feel like I am through with it, which is unusual for me. If I set aside anything and think of it for a while, I usually see tweaks I want to make. We shall see if that happens with this one. I won't varnish it for a bit, just in case. I have yet to decide on how best to view it.
From my studies over the past week I reached an unavoidable conclusion: I can't take shortcuts or I end up not liking the work. Then it takes me twice as long as it would have to correct it as it would have if I had just done what I should have done from the start.
The whole exercise began when I decided that I need to paint faster. My motive was twofold. I thought that this would allow the inner emotions and instincts to take over my cerebral approach to my art. Second, I have seen on instagram that many artists produce work at a prolific pace and I admit to wanting to be like them and do a work every 1-3 days. Well, as said, that caused me to fail.
Here is a painting that I did fairly quickly. I don't like it very much and if I don't, how can I expect to reach my prospective viewer. So, I am starting afresh. I can't call it starting from scratch, as I will work with what I have. But I want to see if this can reach anywhere I would like to go with it.
I thought it might interest you to see some of the process of this painting. This is one of the few that pretty much is ending up as I originally intended. I have never used mixed media before and thought it would be fun to do so. I made three "quotes":
Did you think I love you because I said I did?
Authenticity is in the eye of the beholder.
If you think this gift is free, you are wrong.
I put them on the board after I had prepared the substrate in places with gesso mixed with pumice for texture and laid out the basic design. Then I worked the color schemes for the regions of the board. Because it is abstract, I turned the board counterclockwise every once in a while to help achieve balance in my painting. (As you can see from the below, I am thinking that it needs to upside down from whence I originally began.) Because the quotes would need to be legible and therefore might be too obvious (due to the white), I needed to have a dramatic focus for the painting and for it to have a movement that would help distract from the white and compliment rather than compete with the quotes. I hope you think I am achieving this because I am nearly finished. Let me know what you think!
It is Feb 23 and I am one week into my sabbatical. I call it that because I don't know another shorthand for it. I am taking a break from posting photos of what I am doing and trying not to pay too much attention to what other artists are doing either. But I am returning to basics, meaning I am refocusing on color theory and design concepts. I tend to like closed shapes, which boxes me in too much (so to speak).
Another thing I am doing now is talking to myself and meditating to try to cleanse myself of a couple of worries. First, I note that others frequently do works that are clearly identifiable as theirs, meaning that a lot of what they do looks like variations of the same painting and you know it is "theirs". By contrast, my work is all over the place. I need to get myself to realize that this is what I do and I can't change it, so it is okay. If someone doesn't like that aspect of me, then it is just part of their right to be subjective; it is a given in art that some will like what others don't. The other thing that I need to purge is the thought that fame is the goal. Approval of others is nice, even wonderful, but that cannot be my driver here. I need to accept that it is unlikely that I will get a standing ovation, so I need to do what I do for myself and the muse that sits in judgement.
Here I am in February in Dallas with 5 inches of snow on the ground and it is 15° outside. Water pipe is frozen, but at least I have power. Many don't. I wanted to do more art today, but because I have to do clean up outside, I can't do it. So I am prepping boards and canvases today, and tidying up my studio.
I take prepping pretty seriously. Over the past few days I have put 2 - 3 coats of PVA size on some raw birch boards and on fine Belgian linen canvases. I do it on both sides and all around the sides, so it has to be done in phases and there has to be a couple of days' drying in between. Next will come the grounds—acrylic gesso for the ones on which I will use acrylic and oil for the oils.
A lot of people tell me that painting is easy, especially abstracts. Maybe it is for them, but not for me. I started a painting (30 x 24 inches) about 10 days ago and have worked on it every day for 1 - 5 hours, so I have quite a bit invested already. I think I am more than half way now through though.